Anything But Paella

Getxo – A hidden gem on the Basque coast

If you are in Bilbao for a while and you get a sunny day, why not head down the Basque coast to Getxo, just 20 minutes outside of the city on the Metro.

Getxo Windmill

In our hotel we had picked up a touristy card which told us about an old harbour in Getxo. There wasn’t a lot more information but we thought we would go out and have a look, especially as the rainclouds had parted and let the sun out to play. It was also an excuse to see what the Bilbao Metro was like. We had breakfast near the large Moyua roundabout and then ventured down the escalator into the underground world of public transport.

Getxo Coast

To our horror there was no station called Getxo! We took a gamble and bought a return ticket to Bidezabal which, coincidentally, was the last stop on the next train to depart. Before long the train emerged from the dark and sunglasses were needed again. Note to self – when leaving the train don’t leave your baseball cap on your seat. Some local resident is now the proud (?) owner of some Brighton & Hove Albion memorabilia!!

Lighthouse

When we got off the train we had no idea where we were going. Sometimes those days turn out to be the best ones. We could see the sea so we headed downhill towards the water. On reaching the shore we had to decided whether to turn left or right. We chose right and were soon walking up to the cliff tops and the nearby windmill. It was a bit breezy to say the least but the sun was shining and the paths are wide and well made. The windmill is quite impressive but we imagine the restaurant prices are a little too high for us. It just looked that sort of place.

Clifftop Paths

A little further up the hill are some old ruins. The gates are closed and the tower is shamefully covered in graffiti. It’s a pity as we would have liked to explore further. Instead we continued past the lighthouse to the mouth of Getxo estuary. The views were wonderful. The big problem for us was knowing whether or not to continue! We decided not to follow the path further around the golf course and instead retraced our steps back to where we had started.

Basque Fishing Village

That turned out to be the correct move! Had we turned left initially we would have missed the wonderful coastline. Now we went that way and found our way through a housing estate. The path eventually led to a clifftop cafe where a lone saxophonist was practising in the woods. I think he thought he was alone! We found a way down to the bay and that took us through a lovely whitewashed fishing village. Nearby we called into the Tourist Information Office and got a map. It seemed we had just walked past the old harbour which had drawn us here in the first place. We retraced our steps and were very disappointed to see we had walked right past it without even noticing. That’s how invisible it is!! Look carefully and you’ll see a picture of a strange merman on the harbour wall. Not quite sure why it is there.

After a beer and some pintxos in a very busy pub, we set off along the seafront. It was beautiful. In the tourist office they had said something about the architecture of Getxo. We didn’t really understand what they were on about at the time. The next hour of walking along the coast saw us pass many information plaques which drew our attention to the large stately houses. Each was of a different architectural style but most designed in the early 1900s by the same British architect with the name Smith. Maybe we should have paid a bit more attention to give you more information!!

Naval Memorial

At the end of the bay, past a couple of marinas, was a small park with a Naval memorial standing proudly above everything. At its base was a statue of Neptune which was quite intriguing. From there it was just a short walk on to the Puente Colgante, or Hanging Bridge. This is now a World Heritage Site and it was really interesting to see it in operation. A small platform hangs below the bridge carrying foot passengers and couple of vehicles over the river. It saves the hassle of building a solid bridge!! If you don’t fancy it, you can always get a boat across.

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